Companies and brands have recently become more involved in social causes, spurred by growing public support for a variety of causes and concerns. The growth of social media, with its ability to create more personal connections between businesses and customers than was possible with mass media, has played a key role in this transition.
Effective, relevant, thoughtful, and thoroughly considered social issue statements shared via social media can help build connections with customers and prospects. However, a rushed response or messaging viewed as tone-deaf can cause a wide variety of problems. All businesses that want to share their values and establish positions on key issues need to approach this concept carefully and consider how taking a stand can impact their operations.
Taking a position on relevant issues is a positive
“A significant majority want businesses to take stands on relevant social issues.”
Action on social issues through social networks is one of the top marketing trends of 2021, as identified by AdWeek. Employees, customers, and prospects have each played roles in advancing this trend, all of whom are key to continued success. It’s important that companies recognize the influence of these groups and respond accordingly.
Although each company must consider its own industry, structure, key concerns, customer base, and other relevant aspects, there are some important and generally applicable lessons that can help in developing a basic plan. Sprout Social conducted a survey of U.S. consumers to determine attitudes, opinions, and preferences about businesses, social issues, and social media.
Among the most important findings is the general agreement that companies take a stand on current events and issues: 66% of respondents agree that this measure is important. Additionally, social is the preferred method for such messaging, with 58% of respondents agreeing on this combination of channel and topic. Relevancy is another key concern. Generally, an audience is more receptive to a company making a statement or taking a stand when the issue at hand involves the company’s customers, employees, and function.
Guidance on when and how to take a stand
For edtech companies, the world of education is clearly the most relevant area of discussion when it comes to social issues and taking a stand on them. Education professionals enter this field at least in part to support effective learning and the positive development of students. This means that they already have a keen interest in events and concerns that may impact their profession and the learners they serve.
For increased impact and alignment with an audience’s key areas of interest, edtech companies can look to:
- The types of students their products and services support.
- The areas in which their products are most popular or frequently purchased.
- The roles of the education professionals who select, approve the purchase of and utilize their offerings.
While selecting a specific position on a given issue requires careful consideration at the individual level, your business can look toward emphasizing broadly positive traits like compassion and respect for education professionals and students. Asking how a particular issue negatively or positively affects the people who use your products, as well as your own employees, can be a good place to start.
Effectively connecting with your audience
Taking advantage of current marketing trends, even when they are as potentially complicated as taking a stand on social issues, is an important consideration for companies in the education industry.